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Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) News/Business. (2013) Discussing gun control, immigration and potential Supreme Court vacancies. New.

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Us 5, Vermont 4, Patrick Leahy 3, John Boehner 3, Sonia Sotomayor 2, Wefawn Johnson 1, Don Johnson 1, Jennifer Steinhauer 1, George W. Bush 1, Bob Dole 1, Vance Me 1, Ronald Reagan 1, Roberts 1, California 1, Ireland 1, Italy 1, Canada 1, Durban 1, Obama 1, New York City 1,
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  CSPAN    Newsmakers    Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.)  News/Business.  (2013)  
   Discussing gun control, immigration and potential Supreme Court...  

    January 20, 2013
    10:00 - 10:30am EST  

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patrick leahy. then life inauguration coverage including the swearing in of president obama and your phone calls. >> joining us on "newsmakers", senator patrick leahy. thank you for being with us. joining us is a congressional reporter for "the new york times." let me begin with the comments made this past week as the president outlined his gun strategy. he made a passing reference to violent in media. you said you want to take a closer look at that part of the debate. how can congress legislate morality when it comes to gun violence or movies? >> movies and television and what not the response and not the congress. it to be family members, parents.
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with my grandchildren there are programs that are not allowed to watch. i think that is right. we should be doing more of that. the industry has to ask itself how glamorous do they make killings, at the same in a movie. there's nothing glamorous about somebody being killed. i was at a number of murder scenes when i was a prosecutor. there's nothing glamorous about that. i worry about people glamorizing it. the issue has been raised. we will ask about it. i do not think anybody in the senate has worked harder to defend the first amendment. i do not see a law that will ban
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of these beings. >> after the president announced his initiative and things like to see happen in congress, it seems clear that you like to see those things go through your commit see. i am wondering how you see that going forward. >> it is not going to go through the appropriations committee. this is not the jurisdiction. it is a lot of extra work for our committee. i want to set an example to everybody. we will have a hearing this month. we have this anywhere in the congress. it is there so we do get
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something done. we will hold this. i want to understand the legislative language. some of things they will do by executive action so we do not have to do that. there are things we should do. we should look at it. we're going to hear from people on all sides of the issue. if we come up with something, it is never an easy thing to do in congress. you have to balance the second amendment rights with people's safety. i understand that. we will have these hearings. i assume either at in house or others have the jurisdictions. people have hearings, too. i am the only one having hearings. >> let's look at the three
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specific things the president talked about. a limit on magazines and universal background checks. those are pieces he spoke about. do you see a committee taking up each individual piece? >> the president has not endorsed any party language. it makes it more difficult bridge any particular language. it makes it more difficult -- any particular language. it makes it more difficult to talk it out. if someone is a felony they can go in and buy weapons at a gun show. if you go to a gun store in your state or community, an owner has to pay taxes, state taxes, local taxes.
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it has to follow the rules or license.ill lose the a lot of gun shop owners i talk to say why should we have to do all this? guys can set up in the parking lot and have a gun show and not have to follow those rules. if you're going to have rules it is going to be for everybody. you cannot say the rules apply to you but not to you. you might want to close the gun show loophole. suddenly, having real background check. that i purchase a weapon, i have to go through a background check the same way you would. that should apply to everybody. they do not have any way to check on that as california has
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found. a lot people should not have weapons but do because there is that a way to compare records, a felony records and so on. can sayose that so we whatever rules we have will apply the same to everyone. >> i want to ask you some more about guns. one of the things i want to point out is you have another big domestic policy i tim in your camp which is immigration. -- item in your camp which is immigration. you are going to be starting to work on that sometime in february. can you talk about how you'll be able to balance that with the gun issue, but very high-profile and complicated issues? >> we will bring back the
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violence against women act. i have learned to balance the tasks. i'm not afraid of work. if the president doesn't set up specific language that will make it easier. -- does set up specific language that will make it easier. that would be very helpful. i worked with president george w. bush on a comprehensive bill. i stated publicly at the time that is a democrat -- that this strongly are really agrees with a republican president. why not do it this year? i get the impression talking to
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a number of republicans and democrats that everybody feels we have to do something. you have to face reality of 12 million undocumented people. you have the reality of children who know no life except here. if we say you have to leave the country tomorrow. a whole lot of our businesses will shut down. a lot of things would grind to a halt. worse than that, a lot of families would be destroyed. my grandparents immigrated to vermont from italy. my great grandparents emigrated from ireland. towife's parents immigrated vermont from canada. under the rules of wonder if any of them -- i wonder if any of
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them would have stayed. they forget that they are probably one or three generations but someone coming from this country. i think we should have the dream act. senator durban has been a wonderful champion of that. we will work together on that. there are lots of other things we should do. a pact to citizenship is easy to say. -- the path to is it is easy to say. the devil is in the details. is easy tozenship say. the devil is in the details. >> how will you work with republicans to pass something from the white house? it has to be bipartisan.
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are you in conversations with republicans? >> yes. that is the beauty of a judiciary committee. i have never block someone from freeing up an amendment. even if i could i do not. i will give you an example. it had been 50 years since we made our patent laws. involves billions upon billions worth of jobs. i took it on. i said let's and do it. we worked with a bipartisan fashion. we passed the first update in the patent laws in 50 years.
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it was done. the president signed it. it has not only saved jobs but it is creating millions of dollars of jobs. forget the posturing and work. >> let me ask you on a senate issue appeared john boehner issued a statement critical of the senate saying your body has not passed a budget in for years and it is time to produce a budget that cut spending. >> we did pass one. we did the so-called sequestration legislation. i realize he has to play to his of a. this poor guy could not get sandy relief at the end of the last congress. they finally got through part of
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it after some local members of his party said do not give any more campaign contributions to republicans until you do. i would like to see the house to some of that. i do not believe i should tell them what to do. we passed a bipartisan farm bill. we worked very hard on it. it passed overwhelmingly. it got to the house they were afraid to even vote one way or another. we passed the violence against women act. how could anyone be in favor of violence against women? it passed overwhelmingly with bipartisan support. he goes to the house, -- it goes to the house, we cannot do anything on this. we passed the sandy relief. they would not take that on.
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my message is i appreciate it. i like speaker john boehner. we are friends. maybe you might want to get your own house in order before you tell us how to run our. s. he is a longtime friend. i mean that seriously. people would feel a lot better about congress at a whole if thethe leadership could get their house in order. we need to keep passing legislation in the senate as we have a. >> is congress broken? >> it is not the congress i knew when i first came here. >> do you want to elaborate? >> we have far more people in both parties that seemed interested in doing what is best
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for the country and not what is best for their own political portrait. >> would you say republicans and democrats are equally guilty? >> in senate we have seen more filibusters all from the republican side. that is more than i saw 30 years before that. i tried to analyze it. i came the president pro tem of the senate. it was not something i saw. i am the most senior member of the majority. i became that. time foreen a little reflection. you can sit there and reflect. there are things that have to change. i admire senator bob dole. he had been a republican leader.
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he supported the disability treaty, something that ronald reagan would have supported. he had commitments from a number of republicans. he was on the floor in a wheelchair a great jeopardy to his own health and they voted it down. that is a sad commentary. i could see it on some things like you may have a dispute over arms control agreement. disability affects everybody. it got voted down. it is not the same as when i came in. i've seen greek leaders and a number of others -- great
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leaders in a number of others, it is one of the most typical jobs. you have so many people on different agendas often named a minority i. >> comely circle back to the next agenda item? -- can we circle back to the next agenda items that you say you are a gun owner. what is your view on-magazine clips? >> i say having a weapon with a 30 round magazine for civilian use is a weapon you use a in war. i do not see a need for it. vermont has a virtually no gun violence.
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laws. we do limit the amount of rounds again have during deer season for a semi-automatic. we have to be as protective of our citizens generally as that. i've never known a gun owner or hunter in vt. 2 says i have 30 rounds. >> we have about eight minutes. >> i am interested in yorba feeling about an assault weapons ban. -- your feelings about an assault weapons ban. >> i voted for the last assault toapon ban just as i voted f
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outlaw the [inaudible] i feel strongly about having served eight years in law enforcement. one of the questions i told my staff is i would like to get a definitive answer. did the assault weapon ban work? everybody understands the band the cannot have any fully automatic weapons. not since the 80's. -- the ban that you cannot have any fully automatic weapons. not since the 80's. i do not want anything symbolic. i want something to make people safer. they do not mind following the law as long as it applies to everybody. it is hard to say one size fits all. we have different gun laws in
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vermont than new york city. >> based on some of the ads and statements from nra officials, can you have a constructive dialogue? >> i invited him to come and appear before my committee. this is going to be a real hearing. i will urge signatures on both sides of the issues to be there and ask real questions. -- senators on both sides of the issue to be there and ask real questions. i do not need work for the sake of symbolism. i want a real hearing. we need a real dialogue. i was upset. i saw an op-ed criticizing president obama's children for
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having security. i agree with her. there are areas where the president's family should be off limits. they should be protected. can imagines what it would look like around the world if something happened to either the president or a member of his family? it is not going to be a platform. i hope they will answer questions. they have a duty to be truthful to answer questions. i hope they will accept my invitation. >> then you move to legislation. will you do individual walllaws/ ?
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>> let's see how much we can put into individual bills. people will vote it up or vote it down. everybody has talked about and nobody has done anything about it. >> what do you make of the criticism that some say you're holding hearings to dry out the process. >> you are right. interview this afternoon -- we should just have a hearing this afternoon. it does not work that way. we have to at least ask what is in it. i am doing it the first month we are back. t they has moved that passe
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house or senate. do you know how much a bill would have passing? it would not get 3 votes. if we did not have a hearing, the chance of getting through a committee would be zero. that is the way the process works. >> you are committing some of the strictest rules of being able to pass out of the committee. how are you going to deal with that when you have more than one agenda item? >> i hope the public would react on that. >> are you going to have to change the judiciary roles and? >> no. -- judiciary r ules?
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>> no, there was some opposition to the violence against women act. it got through the senate. i have never cut anybody out for or against a bill of mine. we move more effectively than those committees. we get things done in committee faster. >> we have a couple of minutes left. >> i've read the sonia sotomayor. -- brought up sonia sotomayor. i scheduled a. people complained, saying i was moving too fast. as it was the same for roberts. it is the same for him but not for heard? r?
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>> what is your biggest concern, immigration or guns and that's what i do not think it is either -- guns? >> i do not think it is either/or. president bush was right in saying that we needed it. >> you are a veteran of the senate. what will the senate passed? senate john boehner says he will take your lead. >> god bless him. i do not know. i wish i knew. it would be so much easier if i did. i would hope to close the gun show loophole. i would hope we would have background checks the same for everybody and actuall.
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>> you have taking on a new role of being the new president pro tem. you have big shoes to fill. tell us about that role. also i was amused by a headline when they first anointed you. >> one of my kids said "you are what?" part of it is ceremonial. you do have in the back of your mind you are in line for the presidency. i tell president obama at three even more for his safety than i did before. -- i pray even more for his
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safety than i did before. i got a letter from the president addressed to me as "dear mr. president." there are certain aspects to it. it made me suspect in think you have been in the senate a long time. think of what has worked and what has not worked. what can i do to make it work better? i may write a book on this. >> what is the title? >> i do have photographs of behind the scenes over 30 some odd years. >> what would be the lesson? >> stop thinking about what advances you instead what
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advances the country. people look at it as a sprinter group. i have to it bans them so they advance me. no. -- advance them so they ad vance me. no. >> what is the greatest helope? >> i hope we will stop these endless filibusters. i would hope a lot of the things we used to do as routine will go back to that so we can debate real issues. we should have a real debate on immigration and our overall budget.
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i am at the senior member of appropriations. -- i am the senior member of appropriations. let's have a real debate on that. look at what just happened in house. the house. we had something that cost nothing. we put in a provision that allowed the state department to take money already appropriated for them and to move it into security. the house at several hearings on this. what did the house do? they cut it out. that makes no sense. you cannot say we do not have enough embassy security and the next day say even though the money is there we will not let you spend it. we need to be more responsible. >> patrick leahy, thank you for
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being with us. >> we continue conversation wefawn johnson -- with don johnson and jennifer steinhauer. >> what is the moment you will remember? >> he expressed frustration about the gun hearings he's about to hold. it reflects the difficult position that he is in and the dynamic of the entire democratic caucus. there are a lot of members that come from red states or have a very moderate, pro-gun record. he is in a tough spot himself in terms of protecting and working with his members who are concerneou

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